Congratulations go out to Victoria Azarenka, winner of this year’s Australian Open! The Belarusian beat out Maria Sharapova in the final Saturday night 6-3, 6-0. This is Azarenka’s first Grand Slam win.
Azarenka has much to celebrate — not only is this her first Grand Slam win, she is now ranked No. 1 in the world, the first time in her career to be ranked at the top. Heading into the final she was the No. 3 seed, and had beat Heather Watson in the 1st round (6-1, 6-0), Casey Dellacqua in the 2nd (6-1, 6-0), Mona Barthel in the 3rd (6-2, 6-4), Iveta Benesova in the 4th (6-2, 6-2), Agnieszka Radwanska in the Quarterfinals (6-7, 6-0, 6-2) and Kim Clijsters in the Semifinals (6-4, 1-6, 6-3) before meeting Maria Sharapova Saturday night. Maria’s last Australian Open win was back in 2008.
Azarenka was a bit nervous at the start of the match, down 2-0, but soon they were 2-2 and Azarenka was on her way to claim victory. The second set only lasted 36 minutes. Following her win, she dropped to her knees in disbelief, stunned by what had just transpired. She then ran over to the stands to hug her coach, Sam Sumyk, whom has guided her over the last two years. She later told the crowd:
“Wow. I would like to thank my team – you guys have been supporting me for so long and believing in me, and it made me realize that I can believe in myself and I can finally raise this trophy. I want to thank my parents, who are watching for sure now, my friends, my boyfriend and my grandmother, the person who inspires me the most in my life. I had an amazing month in Australia and it’s a dream come true.”
An amazing month in Australia, indeed. Just the weekend prior she had won the Sydney International title, defeating Li Na 6–2, 1–6, 6–3.